Research on college choice decisions of high school students has increased over the past forty years but has generally centered on demographic characteristics such as race, gender, or socio-economic status of students. There has been little research on the influences on the college choice decisions of high academically achieving students from rural areas. Nationally, 27% of rural high school students attend four-year colleges, compared to 37% of students who come from urban or suburban areas. In addition, 73% of students choose to attend college within their home state. However, preliminary data from one rural school system in North Carolina showed that over a two-year period, 96.45% of students who attend high school in that county school system remained in the state of North Carolina for college. This data implies that rural high school students remain in state for college at a higher rate than students from urban and suburban areas and do not seek admission to highly prestigious colleges around the United States to which they may be attractive candidates for admission.
Seven to nine students and the faculty member or members who works most closely with students during their college search were interviewed from one rural high school each in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to determine their perceptions of the influences on their college choice processes. Focus group sessions were held with the student participants at each of the high schools to insure the accuracy and understanding of data and to expand on themes identified during the coding of data.
This study found that rural students face a variety of barriers in their college search processes. These barriers, both real and perceived, worked to lead rural students to choose in state colleges that were in proximity to their homes. Rural students and the high school faculty who work with them often work with incomplete or inaccurate information of the opportunities available to students outside of their own states of residence.
|Advisor:||Finney, Joni E.|
|Commitee:||Botzojorns, Jennifer, Campano, Gerald|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Department:||Educational and Organizational Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Higher education|
|Keywords:||College choice, College choice barriers, College choice decision making process, Rural education, Rural high schools, Rural students|
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